April 2012

Mark’s #15 – Evangellyfish by Doug Wilson

April 29, 2012 // 0 Comments

Best known as a reformed theologian, professor, and Christian apologist (he went on tour debating Christopher Hitchens), in Evangellyfish, Doug Wilson turns his cunning insight toward contemporary American mega-church evangelicalism with witty prose and comical satire. Evangellyfish is a story of the dysfunctional life of pastor Chad Lester in particular, and much that is wrong with evangelicalism in general – especially large, mega-church evangelicalism’s emphasis on church as a production, and faith as a personal journey of discovery (without all that emphasis on sin, repentance, blood, atonement, justification, etc.). The strengths of this novel are twofold.  First, Wilson writing is very engaging and funny.  Anyone who has spent time among us evangelical Christians will find much to laugh about. For example: Many Americans have complained of too many hellfire and damnation sermons in their past, but Bradford was one of the 112 individuals in our generation who had actually heard one. Second, sadly, this book would be pure comedy if it wasn’t so true to real life situations.  For each of the great dysfunctions either with Camel Creek mega-church and the scandal and sins of its pastor and staff, I could think of specific churches or pastors that fit the […]

JRF’s #4 – A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

April 29, 2012 // 2 Comments

100 hundred years ago failed pencil sharpener salesman Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) birthed the Science Fiction Adventure/Romance genre.  This book is the first of 11 in the Barsoom series (Barsoom apparently being the indigenous name for Mars). This book and this series have literally inspired generations of filmmakers and storytellers.  Superman, Star Wars, Avatar, and Stargate are among the many well known stories that find their source material in this classic.  In fact the extent to which some of those stories are ripped off border on shameless at times.  For example the words Jedi, Sith and Banth all come from Burrows’ tale. The plot of A Princess of Mars centers around John Carter, a former Confederate Soldier who is mysteriously transported to Mars.  Here, thanks to his fearless courage, valor, and unearthly strength (due to the lesser gravity of Mars) he finds himself alternately getting in and out of danger.  Eventually John Carter falls in love with the the most beautiful girl on his or her planet, Dejah Thoris, princess of the martian kingdom of Helium (yes. Helium). Though the writing and plot of this book is nothing that would make an English teacher excited, what makes this […]

Ally’s #19: Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser

April 27, 2012 // 0 Comments

Last week, I was in the mood for a quick, easy read as a break from some heavier reading. This fun, historically-based novel did the trick. The author got much of her material from letters the Mozart family wrote and cataloged over roughly two decades of travel and performing. As a young child, I was greatly influenced by the love for classical music held by my great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother. When I got my first stereo in 4th grade, I listened to tapes of classical giants, like Mozart and Chopin, as well as contemporary geniuses, like New Kids on the Block, Boys II Men, and Mariah Carey. For all of my learning and interest, I never realized that Mozart had a sister…or that he was a self-absorbed jerk. The renown of some tends to separate them in the public eye beyond the bounds of average human life: having a family, having a childhood, being a jerk, and so on. Even in a book told from the point of view of his sister, Nannerl Mozart, little Wolfie (Wolfgang Amadeus) overshadows her. As a precocious five-year-old, Wolfie is tender-hearted, a little outspoken, and leaps into the laps of royalty for hugs after […]

JRF’s #3 – Hitler’s Cross by Erwin Lutzer

April 25, 2012 // 1 Comment

Adolph Hitler’s rise to power did not happen in a vacuum.  In this thought-provoking book, pastor Erwin Lutzer traces the story of how Hitler’s Nazis came to power in the very heartland of the Protestant Reformation.  Through tracing the cultural, theological and political storylines of pre-World War II Germany Lutzer skillfully shows what happens when patriotism, nationalism, and humanism are given a higher place than the Gospel and Biblical fidelity in the church. It was at once fascinating and terrifying to examine how Hitler deceived, seduced, and hijacked the German church to serve his diabolical purposes.  It was also inspiring to learn of the brave few believers who stood against both Hitler and the apostate church at the cost of their reputation and lives. Lutzer gives much food for thought in regard to how this “christian” nation with such a rich theological history was so easily led down such a Satanic path…and what that means for the American church.  While I at times think Lutzer overgeneralizes or connects dots through assumption rather than hard facts, his assumptions are well worth considering. I leave you with a few questions:  Were the church-going German people any less depraved than you and me?  Why […]

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